Browning on the needles / foliage of Spruce, Pine and Arborvitae is just beginning to show up as the snowbanks melt away. While this damage is not very nice to look at as it becomes more evident with each passing, day, it may not mean that your evergreen tree is dead.
Many evergreen trees and shrubs that show brown foliage in the spring following a tough winter can recover once new growth begins. Careful examination of winterburned Spruce, Pine and Arborvitae may show that buds and growing points for new growth are intact and capable of bringing recovery to the tree. Patience and careful observation are important. Do not throw out an evergreen just because there is a lot of brown. New growth may emerge anytime from late April to mid-June, and if there are enough places on the tree that sprout new growth, a tree that looked pretty bad in the spring can often make an amazingly good recovery.
Look for more blogs on the subject of winterburn in the weeks ahead. I will focus on how to diagnose the degree of damage, and how and when to cleanup a winterburned evergreen so it can make the best possible recovery.